Harrison & Smyth, P.A.

How Are DUI Charges Defined In Idaho?

The DUI statute states it is unlawful for a person to be under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other intoxicating substances or any combination of them and to drive or to be in actual physical control of a vehicle. It is also unlawful to have a blood alcohol content of over 0.08 if you are 21 years of age or older. If you are driving a commercial motor vehicle, then if your blood alcohol concentration level is 0.04 or more then that is also a DUI. For minors under the age of 21, you can be charged with DUI if your BLOOD alcohol concentration is 0.02 or more. The blood alcohol concentration levels can be shown in your blood, urine, or by breath. With regards to being in actual physical control, that just means you are in the driver’s position, with the motor running or the car is moving.

Lastly if you have a blood alcohol content of 0.2 or more, this is considered an excessive DUI.

What Are The Top Misconceptions People Have About Being Arrested For A DUI?

Here are some of the top misconceptions:

  1. A lot of times people tell law enforcement they drank just one or two beers and then they are surprised when they are over the legal limit. Often times they have drank more than this amount which has caused them to be over the limit.
  2. People indicate they’ve been pulled over for speeding or some other infraction and then the cops went into this a DUI investigation. If the cops have probable cause to investigate a DUI during a stop, they have the ability to do so.
  3. People think if they just take their medications as prescribed by the doctor, they can’t be charged with DUI. If a person is under the influence of drugs, even prescribed drugs, and this affects their ability to drive, they can still be charged with a DUI.
  4. Another misconception is if a person had a prior charge and were granted a withheld judgement they think this charge was dismissed and can’t be used to enhance their penalty. The statutes allow the current charge to be enhanced, even if the person had been granted a withheld judgment on a prior charge.

Can You Walk Me Through The Process After Someone Is Arrested For A DUI?

Usually someone is pulled over for speeding, a broken taillight, or some other reason. The officer comes up to a car, he smells alcohol or drugs, sees someone with glassy bloodshot eyes, or sees a container of alcohol in the car and that gives him reasonable suspicion to continue his investigation. If he believes the individual is under the influence of alcohol, the officer usually asks the individual to get out of the car. Law enforcement typically does 3 field sobriety tests.

  1. Horizontal gaze nystagmus test
  2. The walk and turn test
  3. One legged stand test

If drugs are involved then usually a drug recognition expert is called to perform a variety of tests to determine if you are under the influence of drugs. If you fail those tests, then they either do a breath test in the field or they will take you to the jail and do a breathalyzer test. If you fail the test you are booked into jail. If you refuse the test law enforcement can choose to get a warrant to do a blood draw or just book you in jail if they have enough evidence that a DUI was committed. You then either bond out or you wait until you are arraigned before the judge. Usually pre-trial services comes every morning and interviews the individual to determine if they are a threat to the community, if they have a place to go, and likelihood of appearing at future court hearings if they are released.

If you have not bonded out and are not a threat to the community, the court may release you to pre-trial services at the arraignment the next day. When you are arraigned depends on when you are arrested. If you are arrested on a Friday, they are not going to arraign you until Monday. At the arraignment on a misdemeanor charge you plead guilty or not guilty. If you are arrested during the week, then you are arraigned the next day after you are arrested. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, then after your arraignment they set up a pre-trial conference where you’ll meet with the prosecutor. At the pretrial, you will either plead guilty, work out a resolution to dismiss or reduce the charges, or it will get set for a trial.

If you have been charged with a felony DUI, a preliminary hearing is scheduled to determine if there is probable cause you committed the crime. If the court determines there is probable cause your case will be transferred to the district court where you will be arraigned.

DUI Defense Attorney Serving Idaho Falls, Bonneville County, ID & Surrounding Areas

In all these stages, we would help you to analyze the case and determine whether the stop was legal and help you determine the best way to approach the charges. If the stop was legal and there is no way to challenge the arrest, then we work with you to obtain a drug and alcohol evaluation and start treatment as soon as possible to prepare for sentencing.

For more information on DUI Charges In Idaho, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (208) 552-1165 today.


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